Instagram has over 800 million monthly active users and the platform is a great marketing tool to grow e-commerce on Instagram if utilized effectively. Even though it has seen massive growth, it’s still fairly easy to increase your followers and reach your target market organically on the visual-based social media platform.
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Make Sure Every Post Exudes Your Brand Image
Instagram is all about the aesthetic. The images should be impeccable as should the feed. So it’s important to take time to plan out what your feed strategy will be and then publish photos accordingly. For example, many companies will alternate images from a product shot to a lifestyle shot or will pick one filter that they use across the board. Whatever your artistic vision, it’s important to stick to it religiously. So your Instagram feed tells a compelling story and conveys the lifestyle of your target customer.
“As a women’s apparel company, for us it’s about showing real women in our styles. At first, we focused on polished, controlled images with hand-selected models. And while aspirational is still a strong tactic to grow e-commerce on Instagram, user-generated content is just as important, if not more,” says Kristin Celano, Founder & CEO, Jane Hudson.
Follow Rule Of Thirds
To convey a balanced message to your followers and not be overly promotional, it’s important to pay attention to the rule of thirds, which includes:
- Promotional Posts – this includes product posts or anything that is company-related.
- Conversational Posts – this includes posts that encourage your audience to engage in a conversation, it can be anything from asking your followers a question to giveaways and contests.
- Sharing Posts – this includes sharing industry news or cross-promoting with bloggers, your audience, or other companies.
“As a small business founder, I had to figure out fast what worked most effectively. The two most effective hacks that worked to quickly grow my following and build awareness were to cross-collaborate with influencers in a similar space, and load up on giveaways,” shares Gianne Doherty, Co-Founder of Organic Bath Co., an organic skincare company.
Finding the right balance is key to increasing your engagement to grow e-commerce on Instagram and your followings.
Tag Products To Make Them Shoppable
Tagging products is critical because it allows you to have a clear call to action and simplifies the purchase process for the customer. Instagram now allows business accounts in select countries to tag products in their post, just like you can tag people.
The setup process is fairly simple and you can transform your social channel into a sales channel with a few clicks of a button. These simple steps will get you started:
- Set up a shop section on your business Facebook page that is connected to Instagram and add your products to it.Tip: I would recommend selecting the option that allows the customer to check out on your own website. Rather than on Facebook. This way your inventory management system is always up to date. Also, this is not something you can currently change within Facebook settings. If you change your mind, so it’s important to set it up correctly from the beginning.
- Wait until you get a notification on your Instagram account. That you can start tagging products (which can take up to a few days).
- When posting an image, select the “tag a product” option and you should see a list populated of all the products you uploaded on your Facebook shop.
Curate Hashtags & Save Time
Hashtags are very powerful on this platform. Because they allow your content to appear in search results and attract new customers.
Do some hashtag research in advance and save yourself time daily. I simply have a note saved on my phone with three different lists of hashtags. One for each of the most common types of images that my company posts. For example, we most frequently post product shots, quotes, and lifestyle images. So I have a list of relevant hashtags for each of those categories. And of course, we add a few applicable hashtags to each post at the time of posting as well.
Periodically we go through and update our hashtag list since trending hashtags can change quickly. Be sure not to overuse hashtags and only use relevant ones, always keeping the user experience top of mind.
Using Instagram to find your audience takes some patience but can pay off. “We search hashtags relevant to sustainable fashion and recycled clothing to connect with users who have similar interests and may be interested in our mission, says Liz Funk, Co-founder of And We Evolve, an online store and subscription box service for recycled clothes. “It’s very time-intensive, but it’s also really gratifying to make Instagram friends who often convert into customers.”
Use Apps To Create The Perfect Instagram Feed
Using third-party apps can help you manage your time. Since growing and maintaining a popular Instagram account can be quite time-consuming. Social media planners like Planoly and Later allow you to arrange the look of your Instagram feed using a drag and drop feature which is very useful in creating a visually appealing layout before posting.
Instagram has rules about using third-party apps. So it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules. Only use apps in a way that complies with Instagram’s terms and conditions.
Pay Attention To Analytics
A simple review of your analytics within Instagram gives you useful information that you can use to increase engagement. Under the Audience tab, you can see when your followers are on Instagram. Down to each hour, and then plan your future posts at peak times to get the most mileage out of them.
Also paying attention to which photos get the most likes gives you insight into what your audience prefers. You can use this information to post more of what they want and increase engagement that way.
Engagement Is The Key
When my company was first starting to grow our Instagram account. We spent a year commenting, liking, and following posts and accounts of our target audience. This led to organic growth of almost 20,000 followers in a 12 month period.
Commenting on other people’s posts, especially those of your target customer often leads to them visiting your page. Likes are a dime a dozen, but engaging in a more meaningful way gets attention. If you engage with your target clientele, they will often check out your page. Reciprocate likes or even start following you.
Purchasing likes or followers is not in your best interest. While it may seem like a quick fix to get your metrics up, in the long run, you could be doing more damage than good. While Instagram announces algorithm changes, they don’t reveal their criteria for suppressing or deleting accounts. It’s safe to assume that accounts with high numbers of followers and low engagement. Would be an obvious red flag and could have negative impacts. With Instagram’s priority being an excellent user experience, fake accounts or accounts that have purchased likes or followers are likely to be shadowbanned, meaning photos or accounts are suppressed. Hope these tips will help you grow your e-commerce on Instagram.
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